Theatre Quotes | AACT

Theatre Quotes

Words to the Wise
Quotations from a wide range of theatrical perspectives

For use in newsletters, season or fundraising brochures or emails, presentations--you name it.

Displaying 1 - 10 of 421. Show 5 | 10 | 20 | 40 | 60 results per page.
Category Quote First Last Source
General, Playwriting All art is political in the sense that it serves someone's politics. August Wilson The Paris Review (The Art of Theater No. 14)
Directing, Diversity & Inclusion, Management, Playwriting

What is Diversity in simple words?
Diversity is about a rich mix of differences. It encompasses all the dimensions that make each person one of a kind, including ethnicity, race, age, style, gender, personality, beliefs, experiences, sexual orientation and more. Psychological, physical, and social differences that occur among all individuals. A diverse group, community, or organization is one in which a variety of social and cultural characteristics exist

What is Equity in simple words?
Equity levels the playing field. The guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all, while striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented full participation of some groups. Tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the root causes of outcome disparities within our society. Equity is the process of ensuring that processes and programs are impartial, fair and provide equal possible outcomes for every individual. Equity is promoting justice, impartiality and fairness within the procedures, processes, and distribution of resources by institutions or systems. Promoting equality should remove discrimination in all of the aforementioned areas. Bullying, harassment or victimization are also considered as equality and diversity issues.

Diversity vs Inclusion
Diversity doesn’t contradict Inclusion. The extraordinary happens at the intersection of inclusion and diversity. When we come together, the power of each one of us is magnified. By including and appreciating diverse perspectives and backgrounds, we create a stronger commitment, more innovative solutions and better results.

"What is DEI & EDI? – The Complete Guide" on Diversity for Social Impact website

Directing, Diversity & Inclusion

Anti-racist theatre is not about doing all the things to end oppression at once; it’s about doing what you can. Small changes in behavior and thinking can have profound impacts on you and your organizational culture. For me, when directing, those small changes have manifested in changing my adherence to the myth that there wasn’t enough time to do the work, which resulted in pleasantries before rehearsal but no time set aside during rehearsal for people to acknowledge one another. Now every rehearsal I lead begins with a check-in to acknowledge what we’re bringing into the room; access needs are shared, and we honor the indigeneity of the land. Through session agreements we collectively define how we want to do the work. I find people appreciate having the space to bring the fullness of themselves to their art making.

Nicole Brewer American Theatre, September 16, 2019 [ ]
Directing, Diversity & Inclusion, General, Management

Diversity is key to creativity. Really, how much does it cost to talk and engage with people who don’t look and sound like you, or are a different age, gender or skin color, or to work with artists and organizations who operate in different spheres to the one in which you operate?

Lyn Gardner

The Guardian Theatre Blog, Jan. 6, 2015 [ ]

Acting, Directing, General

Theater is a verb before it is a noun, an act before it is a place.

Martha Graham Merce Cunningham: The Modernizing of Modern Dance, by Roger Copeland (Routledge Books)
Set Design

My process is that I will read the play a couple of times and then not do anything until I've spoken with the director, because, of course, there are 500 different ways a play can look--and still honor every word that's in those stage directions. I don't want to think about how it works until I know what the director is interested in, and if the playwright is around, what they're thinking about as they've written it. Then I go away and do my research.

Rachel Hauck Interview with the set designer in Stage Directions magazine, August 2019
Directing, Diversity & Inclusion, General, Management

Ultimately, in order to have theatre reflect the world as it is, the industry must value the artists that it has historically marginalized, and start by redirecting resources to support these artists’ work and lives—a move that could both make theatre a more inclusive space for both artists and audiences.

Emilyn Kowaleski

"Reimagining A Diverse and Inclusive Theatrical Space," Media Diversity Institute [ ]

General, Playwriting

The past isn't done with us. Ever, ever, ever,

Lin-Manuel Miranda NPR's "Fresh Air," June 29, 2020
Acting, Directing

You know what's the loudest noise in the world, man? The loudest noise in the world is silence.

Thelonious Monk The Quotable Musician, from Bach to Tupac, by Sheila E. Anderson (Allworth Press)
Acting, Directing, Diversity & Inclusion, Playwriting

5 Tips to Increase Diversity in Theatre:

1. Be proactive and participate in outreach to groups that represent actors of color, like Asian-American Performers Action Coalition or the African-American Artists Alliance, to bring them into the casting process.

2. If you’re a playwright, lyricist, book writer, or a creator, ask yourself if the race of your characters is relevant to the story, and if not, specify that.

3. Do your research on racism and internal bias before beginning the creative process. Understanding the history of these issues within the business will help create an inclusive and positive environment.

4. As an actor, be conscious of the roles you accept and be self-reflective about whether your racial or ethnic background or physical abilities would be appropriate for the part you’re playing.

5. Be careful of engaging in tokenism or promoting harmful or damaging caricatures. Truly color-conscious casting gives members of marginalized groups opportunities to play real, developed characters, not one-dimensional stereotypes.


Playbill, June 23, 2017 [ ]


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